Parisian influence is growing in Asia as French citizens pour into Hong Kong looking for economic hotspots in luxury retail, commercial and residential real estate, and business services. Recently, World Economic Forum rated Hong Kong as the world’s most developed economy. The country’s booming economy, coupled with Europe’s debt crisis, has significantly increased the rate at which French citizens are immigrating to Hong Kong. Since 2006, the French community in Hong Kong has grown by more than 60%. But Hong Kong is not the only country where Westerners are flocking; mainland China, Thailand, Singapore, and India have been expanding rapidly as their markets open up.
Asia’s economic success in the past decade gave rise to the middle class, which has in turn increased the demand for luxury goods. Emerging economies, such as these, not only have a strong domestic consumer rate but are also highly brand conscious. French businesses, both large corporations and small start-ups, have created a niche for themselves in providing this new social stratum with high-end goods and services like fine wine, French-run restaurants, and couture fashion.
But this new, sizable market also comes with many challenges. The desires and preferences of the emerging consumer demographic in Asian countries differ immensely from what many retailers are used to. The need to cultivate the tastes for certain products in a new culture has taken a significant amount of time, but now many of these industries are thriving and competition is fierce.
The ability to cater to their specific needs have not only augmented profits for companies, but also has influenced their hiring. Employees seek professionals with experience in Asia and honed language skills to match. The need to be a global citizen is more important than ever with this increased exchange of ideas, people, culture, and economic activity across state boundaries.